The re-introduction of Portugal on the UK’s compulsory quarantine list will further deplete UK consumer certainty regarding overseas travel in 2020.

The UK Government seems to be using 20 cases per 100,000 people as a threshold for giving strong consideration to a 14-day isolation period for arrivals from that country. Portugal recorded 21.1 cases per 100,000 people in the past week and speculations that it could be re-added to the quarantine list are growing.

Portugal was the 10th most popular international destination, receiving over two million Brits in 2019. GlobalData’s post-Covid-19 forecasts already see arrivals in Portugal from the UK declining dramatically by -33.3% to 1.3m in 2020; but if this quarantine roulette persists, the recovery period will be prolonged.

Europe is a favourite for Brits (Portugal included) and the same is true vice versa for inbound European travellers. However, this quarantine roulette, coupled with economic concerns and general anxiety, is decimating the UK outbound traveller market in 2020.

Anxiety levels have been heightened

Anxiety was the most common feeling for UK respondents in a GlobalData survey (5– 9 August). With a vaccine still to be found, economic concerns growing, the threat of a second wave and fluctuating air corridors, levels of anxiety are likely to be heightened and the prospect of a holiday may be being rethought.

Tourists now not only have to check their own country requirements but also need to assess the rules within the country they are travelling to. Alongside this, they need to be prepared that this could change at any moment and they may have to ‘race home’ to avoid chaos.

All European destinations will suffer

Europe is renowned as the most popular region for UK travellers. From city breaks, sun and beach holidays and even to ski-getaways, the short and affordable flights across Europe offer the perfect chance for many UK travellers to venture away each year.

Both Spain and France were originally off the UK quarantine list but were both re-instated (Spain on 26 July and France on 15 August). Since 22 August, four more European countries – Switzerland, Czech Republic, Austria and Croatia – have also all been removed from the UK quarantine exempt list.

The UK is a crucial source market for European destinations and inbound Europeans are also a major inbound market for the UK. Fluctuating quarantine regulations will only heighten consumer woes in regards to their travel plans this year, prolonging travel recovery.

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